Tag Archives: Nelson Mandela

Bigot of the Week Award: December 13, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner

13 Dec
BIgot of the Week

Bigot of the Week

Thanks to my dear friend and ally of the oppressed, Bruce Kestelman for supplying this week’s bigot. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R – WI) has a long history of nasty behavior. He helped lead the impeachment hearings of President Clinton and was a primary sponsor of the so-called PATRIOT act. He is a long-time denier of basic science, including climate change. He has supported vicious anti-immigrant laws including the draconian Real ID act. He opposed providing aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina (my how Barbara Bush of him). He threw a famous tantrum as chair of a hearing on PATRIOT act renewal; incensed that Democrats wanted to discuss the civil rights violations permitted in the law, he shut off the lights and microphones in the hearing room and literally took his gavel and went home.

With a career like that, it should come as no surprise that Sensenbrenner finally earns his first BWA. Sadly, he earns it for a stunning display of racism and disrespect. At a meeting in his district, he loudly opposed President Obama’s decision to fly flags at half-mast in mourning for South African President and social justice pioneer Nelson Mandela.

Lowering the flag should be for mourning Americans and not for foreign leaders.

Let’s ignore the fact that US Code stipulates that the President has full authority to decide when to lower the flag and includes international leaders and dignitaries in the list of possibilities. After all, Sensenbrenner has shown that facts aren’t his strong suit. Instead, let’s look at the horrific gall that it takes to spit on the legacy of one of the 20th Centuries greatest leaders. Let’s consider the shocking lack of sympathy for the oppressed around the world — including his own district — who mourned a great man. Lets’ look at the fact that the only reason he was likely to bring it up at all is because it was a decision by that guy in the White House, the duly elected leader of this nation whose every move Sensenbrenner aggressively opposes.

We all earn our legacies. Good ol’ Rep Sensenbrenner just confirmed his. I am curious as to what is with the state of Wisconsin–the state  of  Joe McCarthy, Scott Walker, and Jim Sensenbrenner.

Happy Birthday, Nelson Mandela

18 Jul

Happy Birthday, Nelson Mandela

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Nelson Mandela and wish him a Happy Birthday. Mandela is chiefly known for his anti-apartheid activism and founding Umkhonto we Sizwe.  His activism to fight British Colonialism landed him in prison for 27 years.  Mandela had the wacky idea that the people of South Africa should have the right to govern themselves and to be represented in government without imperial interference.

After being released from prison, it was Mandela who was the chief architect for Democracy in South Africa.  Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.  Mandela’s legacy was to work toward reconciliation for South Africa and to combat poverty and the inequitable distribution of power–a true hero for TSM.  In 1993, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

TSM readers should know that South Africa has had full marriage equality since November of 2006. Mandela’s feelings about marriage equality for the LGBTQ community:

I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.

The Constitutional Court of South Africa clearly stated that:

banning same-sex marriages represented a harsh if oblique statement by the law that same-sex couples are outsiders, and that their need for affirmation and protection of their intimate relations as human beings is somehow less than that of heterosexual couples.

Wow! Talk about progressive and standing up for social justice.  What an honor to celebrate such a hero as Nelson Mandela.

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